Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears
In what will be the biggest news of the offseason, the Raiders are trading superstar Khalil Mack to the Bears. At the end of the day this amounts to two things:
1.) The AFC West is celebrating the departure of one of the best defenders in the league.
2.) The Raiders organization is sending the wrong message to pending free agents.
Players like Khalil Mack dont come around often, which is what makes the Raiders willingness to trade him so confusing. I dont care what the offer is, there is no guarantee that draft picks will ever develop into the player he already is. The Bears dont have any players that are projected to be in Mack’s stratosphere, so that makes things even more confusing. If you’re a Raiders fan, you should be pissed; the organization is losing its defensive anchor that was acting as a pillar for the future. He was already a multi-time All-Pro at two positions and was destroying double and triple teams. All you needed to do was build the defense around him.
Instead, the AFC West is celebrating. No longer do teams have to double-team Mack or fear placing a player in a one on one situation. Now the Raiders defense, which was subpar to begin with, will have to get creative to generate pressure on the QB or they will get diced. Every team in the division got better in the offseason and now the AFV West can rest a bit easier with Mack gone. Hopefully, the Raiders offense can compensate, but Derek Carr hasn’t shown that he has taken the next step and he is getting paid like the franchise savior.
This trade is going to be scrutinized all season due to the message it sends to pending free agents. Mack deserved to get paid and was easily the best player on the Raiders. Yet, he’s getting shipped to the Bears and that organization should be elated regardless of what’s being given up. If the Rams, who have been loose with their money all season long can pay Aaron Donald, then the Raiders shouldn’t have had any issue paying Khalil Mack. If the holdout was the problem, then the Raiders must not realize how free agency works. Everyone holds out so that they can be compensated fairly. This isnt a new concept, it’s been happening for decades.
No matter how you spin it, the Raiders front office looks inept. They are more than willing to pay Coach Gruden 10 million a year for 10 years, but they arent willing to break the bank for their most reliable player. Coach Gruden has been in a Broadcast booth for a decade, while Mack has been producing on the field and quickly developed into a superstar. What are the expectations now for a Raiders defense lacking in star power? With a move to Vegas on the horizon, this is one gamble that may not pay off.
If you’re a Bears fan, there should be a feeling of optimism because a top 5 defender is now anchoring your line. The Bears were already a dark horse to be one of the most improved teams in football. The arrival of Mack could help propel them to an elite-level defense. This should serve as a reminder that if you wont pay your stars, someone else might.
Who knows, maybe the monsters of the Midway are getting a reboot. Khalil Mack is a helluva headliner.